Friendship

Irene S. Levine, PhD, is a psychologist and friendship expert. She is the producer of The Friendship Blog and author of the seminal book on female friendship, Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Breakup with Your Best Friend.

Background

An award-winning freelance journalist, Irene has written hundreds of articles—covering physical health, mental health, relationships, and lifestyles—which have appeared in leading publications including Ladies Home Journal, Reader’s Digest, Self, AARP, Better Homes & Gardens, Health, Prevention, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and The Dallas Morning News.

Writing as The Friendship Doctor, Irene is a friendship expert who has been an advice columnist and regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Trusted media source

Editors and journalists consider Dr. Levine the “go-to” expert on the topic of friendships. Her practical advice has been quoted and featured in interviews published in hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the globe including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the UK Sunday Times, and The Telegraph.

She has participated in national radio and blog tours, and television appearances, including The Today Show and CBS Sunday Morning, where national correspondent Rita Braver called Irene “The Dear Abby of Friendship.”

When O, Oprah Magazine, compiled its 100 best pieces of advice from celebrities and experts, it solicited Dr. Levine’s sage advice on how to tactfully end a friendship.

An engaging speaker, Dr. Levine has lectured locally, nationally, and internationally about mental health and relationships. She has made presentations about the dynamics of female friendships at libraries, book clubs, college and alumni groups, and women’s and religious groups across the country.

She maintains an active presence on social media, and has consulted with a number of corporations to help them expand their brand presence to women. Her X (formerly Twitter) account has more than 8.1K followers. She has more than 1.9K Facebook Friends and more than 3.800 connections on LinkedIn. Her dedicated “friendship” page on Facebook has more than 1.8K followers.

Psychologist and friendship expert

Before taking the plunge to become a full-time freelance writer, Dr. Levine spent nearly two decades in senior policy roles at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) in Rockville, Maryland, where she was one of the chief architects of the NIMH Community Support Program and created and directed the NIMH Program on Homelessness and Mental Illness.

She was appointed the first Deputy Director of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For a period of ten years, she directed communications at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. Dr. Levine co-authored Schizophrenia for Dummies (Wiley, October 2008) with her psychiatrist-husband, Jerome Levine, MD.

Other affiliations

For more than 15 years, Dr. Levine held an academic appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. She is a long-time member of the American Psychological Association and the Authors Guild. Her doctorate in clinical psychology is from St. John’s University in New York.

After she retired and became an empty-nester, she launched a new path as an award-winning travel writer. See the TRAVEL page on this site.

About the book and the blog

When Dr. Levine conducted an online survey of more than 1,500 women between the ages of 17 and 70 in 2007 while researching her book, Best Friends Forever: Surviving A Breakup With Your Best Friend, the promise of anonymity opened a floodgate of stories and emotions.

Women poured out their hearts revealing the details of friendship problems often kept secret because of the stigma attached to failed friendships. Questions and concerns about the complexities of female friendships suggested the need for a blog, a virtual roadmap for navigating the tricky terrain of female friendships.

The Friendship Doctor launched The Friendship Blog in 2007, offering Irene’s unique blend of insight, experience, and wisdom in simple, straightforward language in reply to reader-submitted problems and dilemmas. Her posts also distill new research findings, track trends, and share  insights about friendship gleaned from popular culture. The blog has proved to have universal appeal, having been visited by readers from more than 190 countries across five continents.

Filled with close to two decades of rich archival information and advice, The Friendship Blog is in the process of being redesigned (again) to make it even more searchable by mobile users visiting from all over the world.

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Heartfelt visitor comments

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“Even though I’m not the one who asks for suggestions, I appreciate your thoughtful responses and how you care about people. Thanks. The world needs more people like you.”    
— L.
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“Thanks for all your posts this year (which I read every week). They really help me to validate some of the ongoing situations I deal with in life, even though some are just a natural part of growing.”   
— J.
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“I’m not normally one to contact random strangers but I had to get in touch to say thank you…I was facing such a difficult time coming to terms and understanding what happened between me and my best friend. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to stumble across your blog.  There isn’t a day when I don’t log on to read it.”    
— N.
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“Your blog made me feel connected and not alone in this world.”
— A.